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Parentage of Great Basin Feral Horses

Ann T. Bowling and Robert W. Touchberry
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jul., 1990), pp. 424-429
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3809652
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3809652
Page Count: 6
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Parentage of Great Basin Feral Horses
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Abstract

We studied parentage of Great Basin wild (feral) horses to provide data for decisions concerning reproductive management. Blood samples of 975 feral horses from 5 areas (7 trap sites) were tested by serological and by electrophoretic techniques for genetic markers at 19 polymorphic loci. Blood typing data showed that nearly one-third of foals were not sired by the harem stallion. In only about half of the multiple male harem bands was 1 stallion the sire of all the foals. Harem stallions averaged 12.2 ± 0.7 (SE) years old (range 7-25) and dams averaged 7.1 ± 0.4 years (range 2-20). Mares 6-8 years old were twice as likely to have a foal as mares either younger (2-5 yr) or older (9-25 yr). We suggest that for management of population growth in wild horses, sterilization of dominant males will reduce but not eliminate foal production, and female contraceptive implants could be effectively targeted to specific age classes.

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